Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 130, Issue 6, pp 1035–1045 | Cite as

Anatomical responses of leaf and stem of Arabidopsis thaliana to nitrogen and phosphorus addition

  • Qiong Cai
  • Chengjun Ji
  • Zhengbing Yan
  • Xingxing Jiang
  • Jingyun Fang
Regular Paper


Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availabilities play crucial roles in plant morphogenesis and physiological processes, but how plant anatomical traits respond to the N and P supply is not well elucidated. We evaluated the effects of N and P supply on multiple leaf and stem anatomical traits of Arabidopsis thaliana. The addition of N increased the stem diameter, cortex thickness, rosette radius, midrib thickness, and size of leaf and stem vasculature significantly. Abaxial stomatal length (LSL) increased while adaxial epidermal cell density decreased significantly with increasing N supply. P addition did not affect stem size and leaf epidermal traits, but enhanced the thickness of stem xylem. The nutrient limiting status did not affect most traits except for LSL. The anatomical traits measured varied a lot in the extent of response to N and P addition, despite relatively stronger response to N addition overall. Cortex thickness, rosette radius, stomatal density and epidermal cell density exhibited relatively high plasticity to both nutrients, while stomatal length and stomatal index were relatively stable. Thus, these results suggested that the anatomical traits of shoot vasculature of A. thaliana were enhanced by both nutrients but more affected by N addition, satisfying the plant growth and nutrient requirements. Our findings may help shed light on plant adaptation to nutrient availability changes under the ongoing anthropogenic impacts, but the generality across numerous plant species still warrants further researches.


Anatomical traits Arabidopsis thaliana Leaf Nitrogen and phosphorus addition Stem 



We thank N.Y. Kim for assistance with laboratory work, W. X. Han for helpful discussion, and the reviewers for valuable comments on this manuscript. This project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31370419), the Global Climate Change Research of the National Major Research Plan (No. 2014CB954001) and the Science Fund for Innovative Research Groups of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31621091).


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer Japan KK 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiong Cai
    • 1
  • Chengjun Ji
    • 1
  • Zhengbing Yan
    • 1
  • Xingxing Jiang
    • 1
  • Jingyun Fang
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, College of Urban and Environmental SciencesPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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